Monday, May 19, 2014

Make a homemade heating and cooling pad for your dog!

Whether you are an agility and hiking dog like me, or just enjoy walks with your Mum or Dad, there may be times where you strain or pull a muscle, or have a few aches and pains that would be helped by a little home treatment.

Heating and cooling pads can be a bit cumbersome and sometimes expensive. So we wanted to share one of our favorite DIY ideas for making your own heating and cooling pad from some old socks and plain white rice.

It's super, super easy, and quick.
  • Fill a sock with (uncooked) rice. White rice is the least expensive. Choose a sock size that fits well with your dog and the placement of your heating/cooling pack.
  • Tie the end of the sock off. Or you can finish off the ends with a needle and thread like Crafty Little Gnome did if you have more time.
  • Optionally you may want to add a few drops of safe essential oils or dried plants like lavender or chamomile to the rice. These aromas are both very calming and helpful in times of stress.
Then, put it in the freezer for a nice cold pack to have on hand when needed; or to quickly turn your rice sock into a heating pad, put it in your microwave for only about 30 secs to one minute (depending upon how large the sock is and how much rice you utilized).

Be certain to test first on your skin to be sure it's not too hot for your dog. Your rice sock heating pad should last about 30 minutes to one hour.

 You can use your cold pack sock for:

Recent injuries where swelling is occurring. Ice helps reduce inflammation on recent injuries and also numbs a bit to reduce pain. Utilize for recent pulled muscles, ligament tears, sprains, etc.

You can use heat packs for:

Chronic soreness in joints, and muscle aches and spasms that are ongoing and reoccurring. Only use on ouchs where there is no inflammation. You can also use a little heat before vigorous exercise to increase blood flow and circulation, but not too much to steer your dog to nighty-night.

For example:
  • The first time I pulled my iliopsoas muscle during an agility run, Mum instantly pulled me from the rest of the dog agility trial and took me home to ice up my inflamed and pulled muscle. 
  • However, over the years, I've had a little bit of soreness and tightness in my back-end and top hip area (the cause of the original iliopsoas pull) on occasion, as well as occasional soreness in my shoulder from another long ago injury. To keep me loose, supple and feeling my best to run agility, Mum utilizes a heating pad on these areas between trials and the night before an agility trial. It helps me and my muscles relax, and sets me up to sleep well for a great trial for the weekend.  
See the difference of when you should use ice and when you should use heat? For more information, feel free to visit our friends at Whole Dog Journal and read their interesting article on 'Home Treatments for Injured Dogs.'

Photos courtesy of StuRay_from_LA and Crafty Little Gnome.

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